China's Terrence Zhang has won the 2017 Architectural Photography Awards (aka Arcaid Awards) at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin for his stunning shot of an empty swimming pool in the New Campus of Tianjin University, China. The photo came first in a strong shortlist comprising 20 photographs.

According to Arch Daily, the New Campus of Tianjin University was designed by Atelier Li Xinggang, and completed in 2015. It's a very photogenic example of concrete architecture and brings to mind the kind of Brutalist building you might expect to have been built a few decades ago in the former Soviet Union.

The photographer framed the symmetrical space expertly, but it's the quality of the light coming through the oval windows that makes this one so special. Interestingly, Zhang also won a runner-up place for another photo of the campus' gymnasium, shown below, which also uses light to great effect.

"The winning photograph, the swimming pool, was a big challenge," explains Zhang. "It was in winter 2016 when I traveled to Tianjin University to photograph the gymnasium. The outdoor temperature was at least zero degrees [Celsius/32 Fahrenheit], indoor was warm and over 20 degrees [Celsius/68 F]. The temperature difference between outdoor and indoor covered my camera in water vapor and I was worried that it had ruined my camera, but just over half an hour later, the camera was working again, which was lucky because with over 90 percent humidity in the room, the fantastic volume of light revealed itself.

I had shot many photos around the swimming pool and found the optimum spot to shoot from in order see the light spraying through the windows. It was a magic moment – one that I had never felt or seen in my career. I stayed in the spot, waited until all students left, then captured the scene in my camera – and in my heart, too.

I chose to enter this photo for the awards, although there were many other pictures that I could have entered, because I might never again see such lights as I did that day. Light like that – like lights in fairy tales or as depicted in the Bible – can make people feel so peaceful and focused. I believe that this photo is an architecture photo beyond architecture. I only wish others could have been there and experienced it too. Hopefully my photo conjures up the very same feelings I felt when capturing it."

The other two runners-up were Tom Roe's photo of Zaha Hadid's Messner Mountain Museum and Adam Letch's shot of the undulating Bosjes Chapel in Ceres, Cape Town, designed by Steyn Studio and shown above.

Zhang was awarded US$3,000 for his efforts and is currently being exhibited, along with the other finalists, at the Image+Space gallery in Beijing. His photo will also be exhibited at Sto Werkstatt in London from February 9th, 2018.

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